Original Publication Date: 1996
Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker
Cary Retlin challenges the BSC to a mystery war: he will leave a trail of eight clues that the BSC has six days to solve. If he wins, he gets Kristy's watch. If the BSC wins, he'll stop bugging them. It's actually pretty fun to try to figure out the clues before the BSC does.
That's the not the real mystery, of course. The Michief Knights have moved beyond simple pranks; SMS is actually being vandalized. But the trademark MK is written in green, not red like it has been in the past. This all comes at an especially bad time: the teachers are trying to negotiate a new contract and the school board is using the vandalism as proof that the teachers don't deserve a new contract. There might even be a strike. Conveniently, the last bit of the BSC's challenge is to find out who the fake Mischief Knight is, and when they do, the members of the school board who were using the vandalism as an excuse to avoid negotiations back down. The strike is averted, and so is the threat of school extending into the summer.
Subplot (or third plot?): the BSC arranges a scavenger hunt for the kids.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: mint chocolate M&Ms, all-natural potato chips
Kristy outright tells us that her bossiness is a way to be sure people don't ignore her, something she thinks would happen since she's so short.
Kristy's the only short one in her immediate biological family.
The Brewer-Thomas household has hamsters? Since when? No mention of Emily Jr; maybe that was supposed to be a rat. Or it's something that happened in a Little Sister book.
The Club (and clients): nothing new.
Kristy's still the shortest student in her grade.
Claudia seems to be having more trouble with school than usual.
Despite having finished about zero chapter books back in Mary Anne Misses Logan, Cokie knows the difference between principle and principal.
New-to-us student: Troy Parker (8th)
New-to-us SMS staff: Mr. Milhaus, a janitor
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
Page 86: "It's number is one sixty-nine." It's = it is; its = possesive. Bad editor, bad!
What sort of nonsense...? Kristy, describing things that go poorly together, uses the analogy of having both sugar and salt in a recipe. Hasn't she made cookies from scratch? Most baked goods have a few teaspoons of salt in them, and a few cups of sugar.
The book is only fourteen chapters long.
Starting 8th grade: 8
Halloweens in 8th grade: 5 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 2
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate, not just reference): Christmas-2, Hanukkah-1, Kwanzaa-1
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 3
Summers after 8th grade: 8
BSC Fights: 10
SMS Staff and Faculty: 56
Students (other than the BSC): 183: 118 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 6 7th graders, 43 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 33 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 119